The cast of “Iron Man”: Where are they now?

Power through the whereabouts of Robert Downey Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, and others since they helped kickoff the MCU.

<p>Everett Collection</p> Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. in

Everett Collection

Gwyneth Paltrow and Robert Downey Jr. in 'Iron Man'

Looking back, it seems obvious that no one but Robert Downey Jr. could play arms dealer turned superhero Tony Stark. But that wasn't the case in the days leading up to Iron Man's premiere. The actor's colorful history worked against him, as the burgeoning studio wasn't sure if he was bankable enough to carry its first foray into building a cinematic universe. In 2008, the titular hero was still considered a B-list character, and if the film tanked, it would take Marvel's future plans with it.

All the worry was for naught, as it was a resounding success, earning almost $100 million at the box office opening weekend and receiving rave reviews, including from EW's critic, who wrote: "Iron Man takes you back to the days when you sprawled out in front of those [comic] books, flipping through the adventures of a dude who was too vital, and vulnerable, to ever be a mere F/X object."

Directed by Elf's Jon Favreau, and starring Academy Award winners Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeff Bridges, this story of a narcissistic genius who becomes… a narcissistic genius Avenger… is now considered one of the greatest comic book movies of all time.

With multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe phases in the rearview, read below to see where the Iron Man cast is now.

Robert Downey Jr. (Tony Stark/Iron Man)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Tony Stark/Iron Man; Robert Downey Jr.

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Tony Stark/Iron Man; Robert Downey Jr.

Former Hollywood bad boy Robert Downey Jr. slipped into the metallic shoes of “genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist” Tony Stark.

His career comeback in Iron Man mirrored the redemption arc of the inventor he played. After a disastrous one-season stint as a cast member on SNL, the actor made an impression on critics in the film Less than Zero (1987), and earned an Oscar nomination as Charlie Chaplin in Richard Attenborough’s 1992 biopic Chaplin. He also starred in films like Soapdish (1991) and the controversial Natural Born Killers (1994). But a series of arrests and struggles with substance abuse eventually landed Downey in both movie and real-life jail. After getting sober in 2003, he slowly staged a resurgence that culminated with Iron Man.

Because of his strong aspiration for the role, Downey had dedicated three weeks of practice before his audition. "I had amendments and ancillaries and pop-ups for every part of the scene," he told EW in 2008. "It was madness, but also the most positively reinforced ritual I’ve ever performed."

After the movie premiered, Downey was thrust into Hollywood’s A-list. He continued to star as the Armored Avenger through Phase Three of the MCU, but hung up his suit for good after Avengers: Endgame (2019). Outside of Marvel, he has played Sherlock Holmes twice (2009, 2011), and produced and starred opposite Robert Duvall in the legal drama The Judge (2014). He attempted another franchise with the star-studded Dolittle (2020), but the film failed to connect with audiences, and he credits the film's commercial flop with giving him a “reset of priorities” — which led to his Academy Award-winning role as Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer (2023) and his return to TV in the HBO miniseries The Sympathizer. In 2022, he released the Netflix documentary, Sr., which chronicles the life and work of his late father, filmmaker and actor Robert Downey Sr.

So far in his career, Downey has snagged an Oscar (and two other nominations), two SAG Awards, four Golden Globes (and two other nominations), and one Primetime Emmy nomination.

He has a son, Indio, from his first marriage to singer-actress Deborah Falconer. Two years after meeting on the set of the 2003 thriller Gothika, he married his second wife (and producing partner), Susan Levin, with whom he shares two children.

Gwyneth Paltrow (Pepper Potts)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Pepper Potts; Gwyneth Paltrow

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Pepper Potts; Gwyneth Paltrow

Gwyneth Paltrow joined the cast as Tony Stark’s personal secretary and potential love interest, Pepper Potts.

When asked by EW in 2007 what drew her to the Marvel movie, Paltrow attributed the reason to “the people involved," saying: "I’ve always wanted to work with Robert Downey Jr. He’s a genius, and I had never been asked to do a film with him before."

Paltrow is the daughter of actress Blythe Danner and director-producer Bruce Paltrow, and goddaughter of Steven Spielberg. One of her earliest roles was young Wendy in Spielberg’s 1991 Peter Pan update Hook. By the end of the '90s, her star was flying high with leading roles in Se7en (1995), Emma (1996), Sliding Doors (1998), and her Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning turn in Shakespeare in Love (1998).

Post-Pepper, she won an Emmy for her work as Holly Holiday on Fox’s musical drama Glee, and joined the ensemble casts of Steven Soderbergh's pandemic thriller Contagion (2011) and the Netflix drama The Politician. She has reprised her MCU role in both Iron Man sequels and four more Marvel films, including Avengers: Endgame. Off screen, Paltrow’s own business venture — the lifestyle brand Goop — has exploded in popularity, despite backlash concerning the scientific validity of many of its wellness claims. The company has released the docuseries The Goop Lab and Sex, Love, & Goop. In 2023, the actress was involved in a lawsuit over an alleged ski crash and awarded the whooping sum of $1.

In 2003, she married Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, with whom she shares two children, Apple and Moses. The couple divorced in 2016, and Paltrow has since remarried, exchanging vows with Glee producer Brad Falchuk in 2018.

Jeff Bridges (Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger; Jeff Bridges

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Obadiah Stane/Iron Monger; Jeff Bridges

Stark’s one-time mentor Obadiah Stane, who becomes the metallic villain Iron Monger, is played by Jeff Bridges.

The actor called Iron Man “the best Marvel movie” and praised the film’s highly collaborative process. "It was so lucky to have Jon on there and Downey, because both of them are terrific improvisers, and we spent a couple of weeks working on the script and rehearsing together," he said in a 2022 Vanity Fair interview. "Here, I get to play with these two incredible artists and just jam."

Coming from a prestigious acting family — including father Lloyd Bridges, mother Dorothy Bridges, and brother Beau Bridges — he had already worked for more than four decades before Iron Man, earning four Academy Award nominations for films including The Last Picture Show (1971) and Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974). In fact, he went mano a mano on screen with AI-powered tech before in the groundbreaking sci-fi classic Tron (1982), before starring in the sci-fi romance film Starman in 1984. Of course, no discussion of Bridges' résumé would be complete without mention of his portrayal of the Dude in the beloved Coen brothers comedy The Big Lebowski (1998).

After Iron Monger’s defeat, he won his first Oscar for the country music drama Crazy Heart (2009) and was nominated twice more for True Grit (2010) and Hell or High Water (2016). In addition to his acting work, he has released a total of three albums over the course of his career, as well as two books of photography. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the 2019 Golden Globes for his contributions to the world of entertainment.

In 1977, Bridges married then-waitress Susan Geston, with whom he shares three daughters. The actor was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2020, but as of 2023, the cancerous tumor has shrunk "to the size of a marble."

Jon Favreau (Harold “Happy” Hogan)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Harold "Happy" Hogan; Jon Favreau

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Harold "Happy" Hogan; Jon Favreau

Jon Favreau is both the film’s director and Stark’s driver, Harold "Happy" Hogan.

In a 15th anniversary retrospective, Favreau and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige discussed how important Downey’s casting was in helping launch the comic-book universe. "He was that puzzle piece that made it all work.... He understood the voice of the character. And then, one by one, people were just signing on board because now it became something interesting."

The Queens-born actor made his screen debut in the sports drama Rudy (1993), where he also met his frequent collaborator, Vince Vaughn. The duo scored a major breakthrough with the 1996 film Swingers (1996) — written by Favreau — and his career took off. He followed that success with roles in film and TV before reteaming with Vaughn for his directorial debut, Made (2001). He then directed the Will Ferrell Christmas classic, Elf (2003), and even made a brief foray into the world of pre-MCU Marvel as Foggy Nelson in the Ben Affleck-starring Daredevil (2003).

In the wake of Iron Man's success, Favreau has continued to switch between roles in front of and behind the camera. In addition to Iron Man and Iron Man 2, he has directed Chef (2014) and the live-action versions of Disney’s The Jungle Book (2016) and The Lion King (2019). Although the Iron Man sequel was the last Marvel film he directed, he has appeared as Happy in all three Tom Holland-led Spider-Man movies, Avengers: Endgame, and episodes of What If...?. Since 2018, he has been heavily involved in the Star Wars universe, serving as creator, executive producer, writer, and director on the Emmy-winning series The Mandalorian; creator, executive producer, and writer on The Book of Boba Fett; and executive producer of both Ahsoka and Skeleton Crew. He can also be seen on the Netflix cooking show The Chef Show alongside chef Roy Choi.

Favreau has been married to physician Joya Tillem since 2000; they have three children. Their son, Max, made a cameo in Iron Man 2 as the little boy retroactively revealed to be a young Peter Parker.

Terrence Howard (James “Rhodey” Rhodes)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> James "Rhodey" Rhodes; Terrence Howard

Everett Collection; Getty Images

James "Rhodey" Rhodes; Terrence Howard

Terrence Howard was the original actor cast as Tony’s best friend, and future War Machine, Col. James “Rhodey” Rhodes.

Before the movie, Howard was an Oscar nominee thanks to his performance in 2005’s Hustle & Flow, and starred in the films The Best Man (1999), the Best Picture-winning Crash (2004), Four Brothers (2005), and Pride (2007). He also had a long list of TV credits, and appeared in the hit music videos for “Foolish” by Ashanti and “Be Without You” by Mary J. Blige.

At the time of Iron Man’s release, Howard was the highest-paid actor on the project, but his dismissal from the franchise was influenced by his alleged “difficult behavior." When asked about his post-Iron Man departure on Bravo’s Watch What Happens Live, the actor declared: “The person that I helped become Iron Man, when it was time to re-up for the second one, took the money that was supposed to go to me and pushed me out.”

Despite leaving the MCU, the former Rhodey has stayed busy, starring in Red Tails (2012) and Lee Daniel's The Butler (2013), and voicing Tiana's father James in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog (2009). He even released an album, Shine Through It, in 2008. However, his biggest success was with Taraji P. Henson on the Fox musical drama series Empire. The actor returned to The Best Man franchise in The Best Man Holiday (2013) and Peacock's 2022 limited series The Best Man: The Final Chapters, and earned another film credit for Netflix's Shirley (2024).

Howard has three children with his first wife, Lori McCommas, whom he married and divorced twice. His second wife, Michelle Ghent, filed a restraining order against him in 2011, accusing him of domestic abuse. In 2013, Howard tied the knot with model and restaurateur Mira Pak, with whom he has two sons. Although they divorced in 2015, the couple became engaged to be remarried in 2019.

Faran Tahir (Raza)

<p>Marvel Studios; Getty Images</p> Raza; Faran Tahir

Marvel Studios; Getty Images

Raza; Faran Tahir

Raza, the man responsible for Tony Stark’s transformation into Iron Man, is brought to life by Faran Tahir.

In 2015, Tahir told The Huffington Post that initially, the villain had a religious bent that didn’t sit right with him, so he worked with the filmmakers to course correct. “Even when you look at the whole idea of faith-based terrorism, at the very base level it has very little to do with faith. It has a lot to do with geographic control and personal power," he said. "Let’s try to find a different kind of ideology. That dialogue was not only — to my delight — accepted, but then was made part of the whole storyline.”

The son of respected Pakistani actor Naeem Tahir and grandson of Hijab Imtiaz Ali (the world’s first female Muslim pilot), Tahir made his film debut in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book (1994) and had appeared in guest star roles on Alias, The West Wing, and Charmed.

After his defeat in Iron Man, Tahir played Captain Robau in J.J. AbramsStar Trek reboot (2009) and President Patel in Elysium (2013). On TV, he portrayed Captain Nemo on ABC’s fairy-tale drama series Once Upon a Time and reunited with former Iron Man costar Jeff Bridges on The Old Man. Additionally, he has starred in many international productions and received acclaim for his onstage work in Othello, Richard III, Macbeth, and The Kite Runner.

In 2023, Tahir divorced actress Zara Tareen after a year of marriage.

Shaun Toub (Yinsen)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Yinsen; Shaun Toub

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Yinsen; Shaun Toub

Shaun Toub plays Yinsen, a brilliant physicist and Stark’s fellow hostage, who helped the genius inventor build the original Iron Man suit.

“Robert [Downey Jr.] and I basically started together," Toub told MovieWeb in 2008 about the character development process. "We had a two-week rehearsal and we were still writing and changing. The look of my character, I came up with two days before the shoot.”

Before the movie, the Iranian-born actor was most famous for his roles in Crash, The Nativity Story (2006), and The Kite Runner (2007) — which would later be adapted into a stage play starring castmate Taran Fahir.

After his escape attempt in Iron Man, he starred as Uncle Iroh in the poorly received big-screen adaptation of The Last Airbender (2010), before returning to the MCU for a flashback in Iron Man 3 (2013). Toub has amassed an extensive list of TV credits — recurring on Scandal, Homeland and Snowpiercer and starring on the Apple TV+ series Tehran.

The actor is married to actress Lorena Toub.

Clark Gregg (Agent Phil Coulson)

<p>Marvel Studios; Getty Images</p> Agent Phil Coulson; Clark Gregg

Marvel Studios; Getty Images

Agent Phil Coulson; Clark Gregg

Clark Gregg is fan-favorite S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Phil Coulson.

"From the minute I saw that Jon Favreau was directing this movie of Iron Man with Robert Downey [Jr.] as that character...I knew that if Robert was able to show up and, you know, become the talent that we've all hoped he would be able to be — you know, with the addiction issues — that it would be one of the greatest versions, the best possible version that could have ever been," Gregg said in a 2021 episode of Hollywood at Home With the Creative Collection. "And he really, really nailed it,"

Before he flashed his badge in Iron Man, Gregg played FBI Special Agent Michael Casper on The West Wing, and costarred with future MCU government official Julia Louis-Dreyfus on The New Adventures of Old Christine. He also wrote the screenplay for the now-classic Michelle PfeifferHarrison Ford thriller What Lies Beneath (2000).

Gregg has remained very busy in the years since his cinematic breakthrough. He received his own seven-season ABC spinoff series — appropriately titled Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — appeared in four more MCU films; voiced Coulson in several games and animated shows including What If…?; and had TV credits for Florida Man, How I Met Your Father, and Painkiller. Additionally, he reteamed with Avengers director Joss Whedon for the Shakespeare adaptation Much Ado About Nothing (2012) and directed two films of his own — Choke (2008) and Trust Me (2013).

Gregg and Dirty Dancing star Jennifer Grey were married for 19 years. The couple divorced in 2020, and share a daughter, Stella.

Paul Bettany (J.A.R.V.I.S.)

<p>Michael Loccisano/Getty Images</p> Paul Bettany

Michael Loccisano/Getty Images

Paul Bettany

Stark’s right-hand app, the snarky artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., is voiced by actor Paul Bettany.

“I got a phone call from Jon Favreau saying, ‘I need the voice of a sort of personality-less robot and I thought of you immediately.’ I thought that was the funniest thing I ever heard, so I said ‘Yes,’” he told GQ in 2015. “That was a great gig, 'cause they just gave me a bag of money for coming in at the end and doing about 45 minutes of voice work. It was awesome."

He began his career on London’s West End, and after garnering a London Film Critics Circle Award nomination for his lead performance in Gangster No. 1 (2000), he went on to star in A Knight’s Tale (2001), The Da Vinci Code (2006), and A Beautiful Mind (2006) — the latter being where he met his future wife, actress Jennifer Connelly.

After Iron Man, he stepped behind the mic for several more MCU projects before stepping in front of the camera as the synthezoid Avenger, and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) paramour, Vision. In 2021, the off-beat couple starred in WandaVision, their own critically acclaimed spinoff miniseries on Disney+, which brought Bettany his first Emmy nomination. Outside his decade-plus of Marvel work, he has headlined the projects Legion (2010), Priest (2011), Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018), and Manhunt: Unabomber, and garnered more attention when he became embroiled in the legal drama surrounding his friend, Johnny Depp. He returned to the theater in 2022 as Andy Warhol opposite Jeremy Pope’s Jean-Michel Basquiat for The Collaboration, with a film adaptation starring the duo on the way.

He and Connelly share two children together, and Bettany is the stepfather to her son from a previous relationship.

Leslie Bibb (Christine Everhart)

<p>Everett Collection; Getty Images</p> Christine Everhart; Leslie Bibb

Everett Collection; Getty Images

Christine Everhart; Leslie Bibb

Leslie Bibb plays intrepid Vanity Fair reporter Christine Everhart, who tangles with Tony Stark both professionally and personally.

"I do remember when I got the job [for Iron Man], I went to a comic book store, and I'm not a comic book person," she said during a 2022 episode of Collider's Ladies' Night podcast. "I don't think I understood the obsession with comic books. It hadn't occurred to me. It was not in my realm of thinking. And the movie came out, and it was huge and sort of changed everything.... I'm grateful to be in that world."

Before Iron Man, she played Brooke McQueen on the teen soap Popular, and Carley Bobby in Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby (2006). Her career began when she won a nationwide model search on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 1990, and six years later she transitioned to acting.

After getting Stark to admit he's Iron Man, she returned for Iron Man 2 and continued to make cameo appearances in the MCU, including in the viral marketing videos WHIH Newsfront. She has starred in many films and on TV series such as Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009), Law Abiding Citizen (2009), Miss Nobody (2010), The Babysitter (2017) and its 2020 sequel, God’s Favorite Idiot (2022), and Palm Royale. Next up for Bibb is season 3 of The White Lotus and the Clint Eastwood thriller Juror #2.

Bibb has been in a relationship with Iron Man 2 costar Sam Rockwell since 2007.

Samuel L. Jackson (Nick Fury)

<p>Marvel Studios; Getty Images</p> Nick Fury; Samuel L. Jackson

Marvel Studios; Getty Images

Nick Fury; Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson makes his debut as superspy Nick Fury during the MCU’s first post-credits scene. While it was a brief cameo, his role established an essential connective thread that eventually culminated in 2012’s blockbuster team-up The Avengers. (In 2023, Jon Favreau told host Jimmy Kimmel that he filmed an additional take where Jackson's character boldly introduces himself, saying: "Nick Fury, motherf-----!")

"My biggest concern with Marvel was trying to keep them from killing me more than anything else. I kind of liked the gig," Jackson told Rolling Stone in June 2023. "[Whenever] they called me in to tell me what's going on, I always thought they were trying to kill me."

The surprise appearance at the end of Iron Man was so effective thanks to Jackson’s iconic cinematic history in films like Pulp Fiction (1994), Jurassic Park (1993), Snakes on a Plane (2006), and his role as Jedi Master Mace Windu in the Star Wars prequel trilogy. The scene also served as a moment of art imitating art as the Oscar-nominated actor’s likeness was used as inspiration for the character in the Marvel Comics Ultimates series.

After Iron Man, Jackson has played Fury in 14 more MCU projects, including the Disney+ series Secret Invasion and The Marvels (2023). He worked with Quentin Tarantino on three more films; returned to complete M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable trilogy; and starred in The Kill Room (2023) and Argylle (2024). He received an Honorary Academy Award in 2022 for his contributions to cinema, and a Tony nomination the following year for a production of The Piano Lesson directed by his wife, LaTanya Richardson Jackson.

The couple have been married since 1980 and share a daughter, Zoe. They have produced numerous projects together — including the animated series Afro Samurai and the Apple TV+ limited series The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey, in which Jackson played the title role.

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